Endometriosis is a common women’s health problem, but it often goes undiagnosed. The symptoms often vary between patients and are sometimes too easy to dismiss as a “normal” part of womanhood. While mild cramping around your period is normal as your uterus contracts to expel its lining, the pain shouldn’t be so severe that it keeps you from your day-to-day activities. However, many women assume that their pain is to be expected and just try to get on with their lives as best they can.
Let’s examine six signs of endometriosis.
Pelvic pain due to endometriosis is caused by the endometrial tissue that forms on your other organs. The misplaced endometrium irritates the affected tissue and organs, causing inflammation and pain. You might have severe cramping with your period, at other points during your menstrual cycle, or you might have continuous pelvic pain.
Additionally, the endometrial tissue grows and swells with your menstrual cycle, just like the tissue that lines your uterus. However, when the time comes to shed your lining, the abnormal tissue is often in places where it can’t easily leave your body.
Endometriosis also causes scarring. Scar tissue is usually tighter and less flexible than healthy tissue, which can also cause pain.
Endometriosis also causes pain during sexual intercourse. If you have abnormal tissue or related scarring on your rectum, cervix, or behind your vaginal wall, the movements of sex can stretch and irritate your tissue. Additionally, many of the hormonal treatments for endometriosis can cause vaginal dryness. Vaginal dryness increases your risk of tissue irritation and pain during sex.
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PAINFUL BOWEL MOVEMENTS
While it’s relatively rare to find endometriosis inside the bowel, the tissue can grow and cause scarring on the outside of your colon and rectum. Endometriosis triggers inflammation and contractions that cause pain that is typically more intense while you’re having a bowel movement. The endometriosis-related muscle contractions can interfere with the natural contractions that push waste out of your body.
Endometriosis on or in your bowel can also cause constipation and diarrhea. The abnormal contractions can interfere with the final stage of the digestion process, either causing waste to stay in your bowel for too long, where it gets dry and hard, or pushing it out too quickly before most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Tired, worn out, lethargic, no matter what word you use to describe it, fatigue is another easily dismissed but disruptive symptom of endometriosis. Endometriosis triggers inflammation in the affected organs and tissue. Inflammation is an energy drain, which contributes to your fatigue. Combined with the stress of dealing with pain, it’s no wonder that all you want to do is rest on the couch with your hot water bottle and favorite streaming service.
Endometriosis itself doesn’t cause abnormal bleeding. However, when you have endometriosis on your ovaries, it can interfere with your hormone production, which can affect your menstrual cycle causing abnormal bleeding. Additionally, if your endometriosis causes a lot of stress, it can stimulate your hypothalamus. The resulting hormonal fluctuations can also interfere with your menstrual cycle.
Endometriosis can interfere with your fertility in a few ways. First, endometriosis on your ovaries can interfere with your hormone production, egg production and release, and regularity of your menstrual cycle. If you’re trying to get pregnant, knowing approximately when your most fertile days are is critical to timing intercourse. But with endometriosis, your hormones may make your menstrual cycle unpredictable.
Additionally, endometriosis and related scar tissue can block your fallopian tubes and prevent your egg cells from ever reaching your womb or meeting a sperm cell. If you’re under the age of 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for a year without success, you should make an appointment with one of the women’s health experts at Maiden Lane Medical to find out what’s getting in the way of your fertility. If you’re 35 or older, you should make an appointment if you’ve been trying to get pregnant for six months.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS
You should never ignore pain, especially if it interferes with your regular activities and quality of life. If you have pelvic pain, severe menstrual cramping, pelvic muscle spasms, and any other common symptoms of endometriosis, it’s time to get professional medical help. The team of women’s health providers at Maiden Lane Medical are the leading endometriosis physicians in New York City. They have years of training and experience that enable them to diagnose your condition and provide the treatment you need to lead a healthy, active, and pain-free lifestyle.
Call Maiden Lane Medical or make an appointment online today.